When it's cold outside and maybe chilly inside too, do you wonder what it will take to keep your house warm, and I mean really warm as if you were snuggled up by the fireplace?
Perhaps your mother once said to you, “Close the door! You're heating the whole neighborhood!” That may have been your first lesson in energy conservation and keeping your house warm in the winter. But even a home with closed windows and doors can allow precious heat to escape outside, making your heating system work harder to keep your house warm and increasing your utility bills.
You want to keep all that warm, toasty air inside your house so here are eight smart ideas on how to do that.
Smart Ideas to Keep Your House Warm
- Close off unused rooms. Do you have a guest room? Is your son or daughter off at college? Does your home office or hobby area get very limited use? Then shut the doors to these rooms and close the vents. There's no use heating rooms that you rarely or never use.
- Let the sun shine in. During the daytime, you can raise the temperature of your house significantly by opening up the blinds, drapes, or shades on sunny days. Of course this works best in rooms where the sun comes indoors, e.g. rooms with a southern exposure that isn't blocked by tall trees. You'll enjoy the heat, the natural sunlight from Mother Nature and save money when you're heating system isn't running.
- Keep your heating system in good working order. Experts recommend that you have your heating system checked at least once a year to make sure everything is operating at peak efficiency. You also want to change or clean filters frequently, to help your heating system run more efficiently.
- Seal your air ducts and hot water system. Lots of heat can be lost through hot water pipes, your hot water heater and duct work throughout your home. For tips on sealing air ducts, read this article from the US Department of Energy. You can buy a hot water insulated blanket to reduce heat from standby hot water, and it's also recommended you wrap any hot water pipes you can access easily.
- Insulate, insulate, insulate. Most houses don't have the current R-value recommendations because they're increasing as we learn more about making our homes more energy efficient. The first place to add insulation is the attic, and then crawl spaces, floor joists, and anywhere else heat may escape from your home's interior.
- Check window and vent openings. Use a smoke pencil or incense stick to see where air may be leaking around windows, vents, light fixtures, and other openings. Seal these gaps with caulking and/or insulation and if you still have single pane windows, it might be time to explore getting double pane windows.
- Weatherstrip your doors. Use the same smoke tests to see if warm air is escaping through poorly sealed doors. If so, install weatherstripping in the door opening to reduce heat loss, to keep your house warm. Learn other ways to keep your house warm with weatherstripping.
- Change out your old thermostat. There's no reason you shouldn't have a programmable thermostat in your house. This allows you to set the heater at a lower temperature during times when you are not at home or awake.
Strategy to Keep Your House Warm
Hopefully you read down to this critical part of the article because the list can get overwhelming. You don't have to do everything today or this year. The goal is to take small steps to reduce your heating bills one project at a time. This is a good checklist and if you need help deciding where to start, you'll want to check out the Savvy Homeowner Club.
By taking action you can reduce your heating bills and stay warm this winter without walking around the house wearing every sweater and blanket you own!
Thanks to Beltway Exteriors for their open door photo.